US Lawmakers Seek Criminalization, Huge Fines, Prison, for Supporting Boycott Israel Campaign

Posted by DanielS on Tuesday, 25 July 2017 11:12.


The Intercept, “U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Criminally Outlaw Support for Boycott Campaign Against Israel”, 19 July, 2017:

The criminalization of political speech and activism against Israel has become one of the gravest threats to free speech in the West. In France, activists have been arrested and prosecuted for wearing T-shirts advocating a boycott of Israel. The U.K. has enacted a series of measures designed to outlaw such activism. In the U.S., governors compete with one another over who can implement the most extreme regulations to bar businesses from participating in any boycotts aimed even at Israeli settlements, which the world regards as illegal. On U.S. campuses, punishment of pro-Palestinian students for expressing criticisms of Israel is so commonplace that the Center for Constitutional Rights refers to it as “the Palestine Exception” to free speech.

But now, a group of 43 senators — 29 Republicans and 14 Democrats — wants to implement a law that would make it a felony for Americans to support the international boycott against Israel, which was launched in protest of that country’s decades-old occupation of Palestine. The two primary sponsors of the bill are Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio. Perhaps the most shocking aspect is the punishment: Anyone guilty of violating the prohibitions will face a minimum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.

The proposed measure, called the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720), was introduced by Cardin on March 23. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that the bill “was drafted with the assistance of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.” Indeed, AIPAC, in its 2017 lobbying agenda, identified passage of this bill as one of its top lobbying priorities for the year:

       

The bill’s co-sponsors include the senior Democrat in Washington, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, his New York colleague Kirsten Gillibrand, and several of the Senate’s more liberal members, such as Ron Wyden of Oregon, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and Maria Cantwell of Washington. Illustrating the bipartisanship that AIPAC typically summons, it also includes several of the most right-wing senators such as Ted Cruz of Texas, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Marco Rubio of Florida.

[Update – July 20, 2017: Glen Caplin, senior advisor to Gillibrand, sends along the following statement: “We have a different read of the specific bill language, however, due to the ACLU’s concerns, the Senator has extended an invitation to them to meet with her and discuss their concerns.”]

A similar measure was introduced
in the House on the same date by two Republicans and one Democrat. It has already amassed 234 co-sponsors: 63 Democrats and 174 Republicans. As in the Senate, AIPAC has assembled an impressive ideological diversity among supporters, predictably including many of the most right-wing House members — Jason Chaffetz, Liz Cheney, Peter King — along with the second-ranking Democrat in the House, Steny Hoyer.

Among the co-sponsors of the bill are several of the politicians who have become political celebrities by positioning themselves as media leaders of the anti-Trump #Resistance, including three California House members who have become heroes to Democrats and staples of the cable news circuit: Ted Lieu, Adam Schiff, and Eric Swalwell. These politicians, who have built a wide public following by posturing as opponents of authoritarianism, are sponsoring one of the most oppressive and authoritarian bills that has pended before Congress in quite some time.

Last night, the ACLU posted a letter it sent to all members of the Senate urging them to oppose this bill. Warning that “proponents of the bill are seeking additional co-sponsors,” the civil liberties group explained that “it would punish individuals for no reason other than their political beliefs.” The letter detailed what makes this bill so particularly threatening to basic civic freedoms:


 
           

It is no small thing for the ACLU to insert itself into this controversy. One of the most traumatic events in the organization’s history was when it lost large numbers of donors and supporters in the late 1970s after it defended the free speech rights of neo-Nazis to march through Skokie, Illinois, a town with a large community of Holocaust survivors.

Even the bravest of organizations often steadfastly avoid any controversies relating to Israel. Yet here, while appropriately pointing out that the ACLU “takes no position for or against the effort to boycott Israel or any foreign country,” the group categorically denounces this AIPAC-sponsored proposal for what it is: a bill that “seeks only to punish the exercise of constitutional rights.”

The ACLU has similarly opposed bipartisan efforts at the state level to punish businesses that participate in the boycott, pointing out that “boycotts to achieve political goals are a form of expression that the Supreme Court has ruled are protected by the First Amendment’s protections of freedom of speech, assembly, and petition,” and that such bills “place unconstitutional conditions on the exercise of constitutional rights.” The bill now co-sponsored in Congress by more than half of the House and close to half of the Senate is far more extreme than those.

Thus far, not a single member of Congress has joined the ACLU in denouncing this bill. The Intercept this morning sent inquiries to numerous non-committed members of the Senate and House who have yet to speak on this bill. We also sent inquiries to several co-sponsors of the bill — such as Rep. Lieu — who have positioned themselves as civil liberties champions and opponents of authoritarianism, asking:

  Congressman Lieu: Last night, the ACLU vehemently denounced a bill that you are co-sponsoring — to criminalize support for a boycott of Israel — as a grave attack on free speech. Do you have any comment on the ACLU’s denunciation? You’ve been an outspoken champion for civil liberties; how can you reconcile that record with an effort to make it a felony for Americans to engage in activism that protests a foreign government’s actions? We’re writing about this today; any statement would be appreciated.

This morning, Lieu responded: “Thank you for sharing the letter. The bill has been around since March and this is the first time I have seen this issue raised. We will look into it.” (The Intercept will post any response from Rep. Lieu, or any late responses from others, as soon as they are received.)

Sen. Cantwell told The Intercept she is “a strong supporter of free speech rights” and will be reviewing the bill for First Amendment concerns in light of the ACLU statement.

Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, when asked by The Intercept about the ACLU’s warning that the bill he is co-sponsoring criminalizes free speech, affirmed his support for the bill by responding: “I continue to support a strong U.S./Israel relationship.”

Meanwhile, some co-sponsors seemed not to have any idea what they co-sponsored — almost as though they reflexively sign whatever comes from AIPAC without having any idea what’s in it. Democratic Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, for instance, seemed genuinely bewildered when told of the ACLU’s letter, saying, “What’s the Act? You’ll have to get back to me on that.”

A similar exchange took place with another co-sponsor, one of AIPAC’s most reliable allies, Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, who said: “I’d want to read it. … I’d really have to look at it.”

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., a co-sponsor, said she hadn’t seen the ACLU letter but would give it a look. “I certainly will take their position into consideration, just like I take everybody’s position into consideration,” she said.

Gillibrand, the only senator in the 2020 presidential mix to co-sponsor the bill, told The Intercept she would have a statement to provide, which we’ll add as soon as it’s provided.

Perhaps most stunning is our interview with the primary sponsor of the bill, Democratic Sen. Benjamin Cardin, who seemed to have no idea what was in his bill, particularly insisting that it contains no criminal penalties.

Sen. Cardin comments in response to ACLU concerns over the bill.

But as the ACLU put it, “Violations would be subject to a minimum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.”

That’s because, as Josh Ruebner expertly detailed when the bill was first unveiled, “the bill seeks to amend two laws — the Export Administration Act of 1979 and the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945,” and “the potential penalties for violating this bill are steep: a minimum $250,000 civil penalty and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years imprisonment, as stipulated in the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

More details at The Intercept.



Comments:


1

Posted by Enoch's mother - Cardin - anti-anti Israel bill on Tue, 25 Jul 2017 21:19 | #

That’s Enoch (Peinovich)‘s mother, at labor function.

Mom sure seems comfy with (((tribal issues))):


Note the campaign support button worn by her cohort in this photo: it is for the campaign of Benjamin Louis Cardin:

The proposed measure, called the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720), was introduced by Cardin on March 23. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that the bill “was drafted with the assistance of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.” Indeed, AIPAC, in its 2017 lobbying agenda, identified passage of this bill as one of its top lobbying priorities for the year.

  Benjamin Louis Cardin

  Early life and career

  Benjamin Louis Cardin was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Dora (née Green) and Meyer M. Cardin (1907–2005).[1] The family name was originally “Kardonsky”, before it was changed to “Cardin”. Cardin’s grandparents were Russian Jewish immigrants. His grandfather operated a neighborhood grocery store that later turned into a wholesale food distribution company.[2] His father, Meyer Cardin, served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1935 to 1937, and later sat on the Supreme Bench of Baltimore City from 1961 to 1977.[3]


Paula Peinovich past and present:

Paula Peinovich

Managing Partner, Right Sourcing Associates

  Greater New York City Area
  Higher Education

Current

  Right Sourcing Associates

Previous: President

  Excelsior College, The National Labor College, Walden University

She presided over The National Labor College for its demise.

Education

  University of Pennsylvania
  University of Pennsylvania
  PhD, Higher Education Policy
  1975 – 1985

  University of Wisconsin-Madison
  University of Wisconsin-Madison
  MA, English
  1966 – 1968

Memories of Madison - Kevin MacDonald

  St. Olaf College
  BA, English
  1962 – 1966


St. Olaf’s College - The hoax of denial, deceit and delusion.

 

Intercept update:

Senators Promise to Amend Israel Boycott Bill After Backlash
Ryan Grim

July 25 2017, 4:42 p.m.

The lead author of the controversial Israel Anti-Boycott Act, Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, is open to amending the legislation to address concerns raised by the American Civil Liberties Union, he told The Intercept Monday evening.

The ACLU warned last week that the measure, which targets the BDS movement, was unconstitutional and would have a chilling effect on free speech. In the wake of that warning, and a subsequent article by The Intercept, co-sponsors of the bill have begun to re-examine their support for it.

Cardin said that the ACLU had misinterpreted his legislation, but if it needed to be clarified, he would take the steps to do so. “A lot of the co-sponsors are pretty strongly committed to the freedom of speech,” Cardin said. “We’re certainly sensitive to the issues they raise. If we have to make it clearer, we’ll make it clearer.”

He and the ACLU, he said, disagreed about what the bill would do. “I respect greatly the ACLU. I think that many of their points are just not correct. We don’t want to do anything to infringe freedom of speech,” he said.

One issue of contention is whether criminal penalties such as a 20-year prison sentence would apply to those who violate the law. “I actually read it. Turns out, all of this is wrong,” offered the legal affairs correspondent for the Daily Beast in his hot take on the bill. “The ACLU misread the law.”

On Monday night, in an op-ed in the Washington Post, two top officials at the ACLU stood by their legal interpretation. “Violations would be punishable by civil and criminal penalties of up to $1 million and 20 years in prison,” write David Cole and Faiz Shakir, the ACLU’s legal and political directors, respectively.

“We thought we only dealt with civil penalties, not criminal penalties,” Cardin told The Intercept. “But if that’s not clear, we’re willing to deal with these issues.”

If the bill were amended to clarify that no criminal penalties could be applied, violators would still face a $250,000 civil fine or more.

Cardin also said that individual American citizens who backed a boycott of Israel would face no legal consequences, and made that point in a letter penned with co-sponsor Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, which was sent to colleagues on Friday.

But the text of the bill bans actions “which have the effect of furthering or supporting restrictive trade practices or boycotts fostered or imposed by any international governmental organization against Israel or requests to impose restrictive trade practices or boycotts by any international governmental organization against Israel.”

It’s not hard to see how the ACLU read that as a broad ban that criminalized speech.

 


2

Posted by Ben Kardonsky on Sun, 30 Jul 2017 05:53 | #

New Observer, “Israel Anti-Boycott Act: Jews Want to Imprison Americans Who Oppose Israel”, 28 July 2017:

The Jewish lobby in the U.S. Congress has introduced a law which—if passed—seeks to imprison for up to 20 years and issue fines of up to $1 million to any American who dares to propose or support a boycott of Israel on account of the Jews-only state’s suppression of the Palestinians.

       
Single loyalty U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The proposed law, H. R. 1697, is officially sponsored by the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC), and was first introduced to the Senate by the Jewish Senator Ben Cardin (real name “Kardonsky”) and several other Jews in Congress.

The Act’s “short title” is the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act,” and, according to its official description, aims to “to amend the Export Administration Act of 1979 to include in the prohibitions on boycotts against allies of the United States boycotts fostered by international governmental organizations against Israel and to direct the Export-Import Bank of the United States to oppose boycotts against Israel, and for other purposes.”

In other words, the bill seeks to include the proposing and implementation of boycotts of Israel (an international campaign known colloquially as ‘BDS,’ short for boycotts, disinvestment and sanctions) under the auspices of the already existing Export Administration Act, which grants the President the right to control U.S. exports for reasons of national security, foreign policy, and/or short supply.

According to the official website of the Bureau for Industry and Security, the criminal penalties for infringing the Export Administration Act “can reach 20 years imprisonment and $1 million per violation.”

According to a detailed report by the Washington D.C.-based Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep), the bill is the “American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s top 2017 lobbying priority.”

In addition, IRmep says, the “other key problem with the Israel Anti-Boycott Law is that it inserts Israel into places it has no right to be – at the very center of laws protecting U.S. national security, trade and that moderate expansive presidential economic powers during emergencies.”

Because it is yet another case of Congress trying to write foreign policy – like the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 – the proposed law relies upon a stalking horse, in this case the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, as its central authority.



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